San Juan County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) is a voluntary citizens advisory group to County Government, established in 1996. Our mission is to protect and restore the marine waters, habitats and species of the Salish Sea to achieve ecosystem health and sustainable resource use.

Marine Resources Committee Meeting
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MERSociety.org
C. Smith, NOAA

Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery

In 2018 San Juan County and the Marine Resources Committee are building on their 2017 efforts to assist the recovery efforts of the endangered Southern Resident Killer whale. 

We are launching a couple of key initiatives that focus on direct data driven monitoring and improved outreach and education. 

We will be conducting a whale warning flag pilot study to increase boater awareness of whales and boater compliance with Be Whale Wise Guidelines and laws. We are collaborating with Soundwatch and SRKW experts to collect and analyze data on compliance levels and general boater awareness of how to behave in the vicinity of whales. 

As part of the whale flag study we are expanding our education and outreach efforts including updating our Marine Stewardship Area Maps to include the newly extended 1/4 mile voluntary no motorized boater zone on the West Side of San Juan island. The west side of San Juan Island is recognized as sensitive feeding and resting habitat for Southern Residents.

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Marine Stewardship Area

In 2004, the San Juan Board of County Commissioners created the San Juan Marine Stewardship Area (MSA) and asked the MRC to work with scientists and community leaders to create a management plan that would achieve a healthy marine ecosystem in balance with human use and enjoyment. 

In 2018 we extended the Voluntary No-Go Zone on the west side of San Juan Island down to Cattle Point. This voluntary no boat zone encompasses sensitive foraging and resting areas for the endangered Southern Resident killer whale. The zone is recognized by the Pacific Whale Watch Association and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.  

During 2018, kayaks launching from the San Juan County Park within the Voluntary No-Go Zone operate under a special use permit issued by the County Park. This requires that kayaks participate in the Kayak Education and Leadership Program (K.E.L.P). This program was developed in 2010 by County Parks, The Whale Museum, and the kayak industry.

 

Salmon Recovery

The County is the Lead Entity for Salmon Recovery in the San Juan Islands. The Lead Entity Program is devoted to the recovery of sustainable salmon populations to support the needs of the local ecosystem, wildlife, and people in the San Juans. The Marine Resources Committee also undertakes the role of Citizens Advisory Group to the local Lead Entity. 

What else is San Juan County MRC up to in 2018:
--The Orcas Landing Experience Project
-- Initiating a campaign for a Plastic Free Salish Sea
--Community Outreach & Education Programs

Photo: NWSI

HOW TO HELP

Attend our meetings! The MRC meets the 1st Wednesday of every month. Meetings are open to the public and often a meeting will include an invited speaker to present on a topic of interest. Agendas will be posted 1 day prior to the next meeting.

Meetings and Events

Learn more about our MRC partners, local and regional collaborators to learn more about conservation, restoration and management projects currently going on to restore and protect the Salish Sea. 

Resources